SPANISH FORT, Ala. (WKRG) — Spanish Fort’s Gretchen Boykin has led the Toros volleyball team to three state titles in the last decade. Thursday night the veteran coach celebrated another career achievement: one thousand career wins.
“It feels great. Been around volleyball for a long time and it’s just one team after another. It’s just special and it’s fun,” said Boykin.
Half of Boykin’s career victories came as the head coach at McGill-Toolen, the other 500 with the Toros. Spanish Fort beat MGM in two sets Thursday to help Boykin achieve the special milestone.
“I love the game. I love competing,” said Boykin. “I plan on getting way more, so this is just hopefully a start.”
The Spanish Fort gym was filled with signs of congratulations. Following the win, Boykin made her way through the crowd to hug family members.
“My mom, 87 years old. She’s been to about 900 of those wins. She’s always there. My husband, my sister and my husband’s good friend,” Boykin said of those in attendance to support her.
Spanish Fort’s tri-match with MGM included St. Luke’s. Ironically, the Wildcats head coach, Meredith Donald, played for Boykin at McGill. She credits her former coach for her own career success.
“She was my coach in high school all four years. She was amazing. She’s actually the reason I’m kind of here today. She made me into the person and coach I am, so I strive to be like her,” said Donald. “We’re still good friends today, so it was pretty awesome to be able to be here and support her.”
“It feel so good. She’s such a good coach. She puts her all into us,” said Toros senior Mary Madison Lyles. “She is great. She deserves it. She deserves it all.”
Boykin says she’s proud of the achievements and championships throughout her career, but the goals for this season remain the focus.
“All year long I haven’t wanted this to be about my 1000th win. This is an important season. We have a bunch of seniors on this team, so I didn’t want to make it a big deal. But I appreciate everybody’s support. It’s a long journey, so it’s nice to be appreciated,” said Boykin.
Boykin has four career state championships, three at Spanish Fort and one at McGill-Toolen. The 2nd ranked Toros will look to add to that resume later this year.